The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1981. We promote press freedom worldwide by defending the right of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal.

How did CPJ get started?
A group of U.S. foreign correspondents created CPJ in response to the often brutal treatment of their foreign colleagues by authoritarian governments and other enemies of independent journalism.

Who runs CPJ?
CPJ has a full-time staff of 22 at its New York headquarters, including area specialists for each major world region. CPJ also has a Washington, D.C., representative and an Asia program consultant based in Bangkok, Thailand. A 35-member board of prominent U.S. journalists directs CPJ’s activities.

How is CPJ funded?
CPJ is funded solely by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations. CPJ does not accept government funding.

Why is press freedom important?
Without a free press, few other human rights are attainable. A strong press freedom environment encourages the growth of a robust civil society, which leads to stable, sustainable democracies and healthy social, political, and economic development. CPJ works in more than 120 countries, many of which suffer under repressive regimes, debilitating civil war, or other problems that harm press freedom and democracy.

How does CPJ protect journalists?
By publicly revealing abuses against the press and by acting on behalf of imprisoned and threatened journalists, CPJ effectively warns journalists and news organizations where attacks on press freedom are occurring. CPJ organizes vigorous protest at all levels—ranging from local governments to the United Nations—and, when necessary, works behind the scenes through other diplomatic channels to effect change. CPJ also publishes articles and news releases, special reports, a biannual magazine, and the most comprehensive survey of attacks against the press worldwide.

Where does CPJ get its information?
CPJ has full-time program coordinators monitoring the press in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Central Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa. They track developments through their own independent research, fact-finding missions, and firsthand contacts in the field, including reports from other journalists. CPJ shares information on breaking cases with other press freedom organizations worldwide through the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, a global e-mail network.

When would a journalist call upon CPJ?

  • In an emergency. Using local and foreign contacts, CPJ can intervene whenever foreign correspondents are in trouble. CPJ is also prepared to notify news organizations, government officials, and human rights organizations immediately of press freedom violations.
  • When traveling on assignment. CPJ can advise journalists covering dangerous assignments.
  • When covering the news. Attacks against the press are news, and they often serve as the first signal of a crackdown on all freedoms. CPJ is uniquely situated to provide journalists with information and insight into press conditions around the world.
  • When becoming a member. A basic membership costs only US$45, and each donation helps CPJ defend journalists. Members receive CPJ’s magazine, Dangerous Assignments; its annual book, Attacks on the Press; and its e-newsletter, CPJ Update. If you are interested in becoming a member, please click here.

How CPJ Investigates and Classifies Attacks on the Press

CPJ's research staff documents more than 600 reports of attacks on the press each year. Each case that is identified as a violation of press freedom is corroborated by more than one source for factual accuracy, confirmation that the victims were journalists or news organizations, and verification that intimidation was the probable motive. CPJ defines journalists as people who cover news or write commentary on a regular basis. For additional information on individual cases, contact us by email, phone, fax, or post. CPJ classifies the cases in this report according to the following definitions:


In the case of journalists, wounded or assaulted. In the case of news facilities, damaged, raided, or searched; non-journalist employees attacked because of news coverage
or commentary.

Murdered, or missing and presumed dead, with evidence that the motive was retribution for news coverage or commentary. Includes journalists killed in cross fire. 

Officially suppressed or banned; editions confiscated; news outlets closed.
Killed (Motive Unconfirmed)
  When the motive for a journalist's murder is unclear but there is reason to believe that it was related to his or her professional dutes. CPJ continues to research the reasons for the crime and encourages local authorities to pursue their investigations.

Forced to leave a country because of news coverage or commentary. 

Legal Action
Credentials denied or suspended; fined; sentenced to prison; visas denied or canceled; passage of a restrictive law; libel suit intended to inhibit coverage.
Access denied or limited; materials confiscated or damaged; entry or exit denied; family members attacked or threatened; dismissed or demoted (when it is clearly the result of political or outside pressure); freedom of movement impeded; detained for less than 48 hours. 
Kidnapped or detained by nongovernment forces for at least 48 hours; disappeared. 
Arrested or detained by a government for at least 48 hours.

Menaced with physical harm or some other type of retribution.

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CPJ Board of Directors

Honorary Chair 
Walter Cronkite 

David Laventhol

Honorary Co- Chair 
Terry Anderson

Executive Director
Ann Cooper


Franz Allina

Peter Arnett

Tom Brokaw, NBC News

Dean Baquet, Los Angeles Times

Josh Friedman, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University

Anne Garrels, National Public Radio

James C. Goodale, Debevoise & Plimpton

Cheryl Gould, NBC News

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, CNN

Alberto Ibargüen, The Miami Herald

Gwen Ifill, PBS

Walter Isaacson, CNN

Steven L. Isenberg

Jane Kramer, The New Yorker

David Laventhol, Columbia Journalism Review

Anthony Lewis

David Marash, ABC News

Kati Marton

Michael Massing

Geraldine Fabrikant Metz, The New York Times

Victor Navasky, The Nation

Frank del Olmo, The Los Angeles Times

Burl Osborne, The Dallas Morning News

Charles L. Overby,  The Freedom Forum

Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune

Erwin Potts, McClatchy Newspapers

Dan Rather, CBS News

Gene Roberts, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland

Sandra Mims Rowe, The Oregonian

John Seigenthaler, The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center

Paul E. Steiger, The Wall Street Journal

Paul C. Tash, St. Petersburg Times

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